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Energy
6:05 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Canadian Regulators Investigate Mysterious Tar Sands Spills

Roughnecks build a drilling rig at the MEG Energy site near Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. In addition to large, open-pit mining operations, tar sands oil can be extracted from the ground by pumping down high-pressure steam.
Michael S. Williamson The Washington Post/Getty Images

Government regulators in Canada are investigating a series of mysterious oil spills around tar sands operations in Alberta. Thick oil is gurgling up unexpectedly from the ground instead of flowing through the wells that were built to collect it.

The spills are raising questions about a technology that's rapidly expanding to extract fossil fuels that could ultimately end up in the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.

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The Salt
6:05 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

For The Love Of Beer: How Empty Cans Made A House A Home

The Beer Can House in Houston in 2011. It's estimated that more than 50,000 beer cans were used to cover the entire house.
Bill Rand Flickr

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 6:34 pm

At first, all John Milkovisch wanted in 1968 was a covered patio where he could drink his beer at the end of the day. But a bigger idea was brewing. For years, he had been saving his empty beer cans.

"While I was building the patio I was drinking the beer," he said in an interview in 1983. "I knew I was going to do something with them aluminum cans because that was what I was looking for ... but I didn't know what I was going to do." (Milkovisch died in 1988.)

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National Security
6:05 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

NSA Director Speaks At Hacker Conference With Mixed Reviews

Gen. Keith Alexander, head of the National Security Agency, spoke Wednesday at Black Hat, a hackers conference in Las Vegas.

Sports
6:05 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

For One Seniors Basketball Team, The Game Never Gets Old

She-Ca-Go's Leona Cochran attempts to block Jo Cahill's shot during the team's game against the Colorado Combos at the National Senior Games in Cleveland on Monday.
Benjamin Morris for NPR

As athletes age, participation in team sports seems to fall by the wayside in favor of more low-impact activities like swimming and walking. But that's not for everyone. The National Senior Games finishes a two-week run in Cleveland on Thursday. The players for She-Ca-Go, a women's basketball team in the 75-to-79 age division, are still in it for the camaraderie and competition.

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It's All Politics
6:05 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

As His Campaign Craters, Weiner Picks Fight Over Flight

Anthony Weiner listens to a question from the media after courting voters outside a Harlem subway station in May.
Mario Tama Getty Images

Back in the day, when Anthony Weiner was still a youthful Democratic representative from Brooklyn, before the dirty texts and the penis photos chased him from Washington, before his scrabbling, sinking campaign for New York City mayor, he strove to emulate his predecessor.

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Around the Nation
6:05 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Twice Rejected, LGBT Group Won't Give Up On Boy Scout Bid

Senicka Arciaga-Spears (left), with his siblings and mothers, Kelly and Eliza. Senicka hopes to join the Boy Scouts if the Utah Pride Center's troop charter application is accepted.
Terry Gildea KUER

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 6:45 pm

Seventh-grader Senicka Arciaga-Spears wants to be a Boy Scout. Over a homemade Sunday evening dinner, he tells his two moms, Eliza and Kelly, that he wants to learn survival skills — including fishing and "dangerous hiking."

Eliza would like her son to join the Scouts, too. "They teach discipline and obedience and respect and self-sufficiency. I want that for him," she says. "I want him to learn those things and be surrounded by those things."

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Media
6:05 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Local Kentucky TV Station Wants To 'Un-Hype' The News

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block.

In local TV news, one of the most basic ways to appeal to viewers is to constantly promise breaking news, but one station in Louisville, Kentucky, is taking a different approach. NPR media correspondent David Folkenflik tells us more.

DAVID FOLKENFLIK, BYLINE: The spot is for WDRB television in Louisville.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV BROADCAST)

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The Two-Way
5:04 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Reports: Major League Baseball Warns Players Union Of Suspensions

Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees in the dugout of the team's minor league affiliate Charleston River Dogs during a July 2 game in Charleston, S.C.
Streeter Lecka Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 7:31 pm

According to several news reports, Major League Baseball has given the players union a list of those facing suspensions because of doping.

In truth, this is another pit stop in the long march toward what is rumored to be the suspension of some of baseball's A-listers. Of course, the biggest target is rumored to be Alex Rodriguez.

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Parallels
4:43 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Pope's Visit: A Bumpy Test Run For Rio's World Cup, Olympics

Hundreds of thousands of people crowd Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday as Pope Francis celebrates the final Mass of his visit to Brazil. Security lapses, traffic chaos and other logistical snafus marred the visit.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 7:47 pm

While the recent World Youth Day celebrations in Rio de Janeiro were a success for Pope Francis, they certainly weren't for the city government. Accusations of disorganization and transport failures have left residents wondering if Rio is really ready to host both the World Cup and the Olympics.

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Television
4:40 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Lady In Black: 'Burka Avenger' Fights For Pakistan's Girls

Mild-mannered teacher by day, masked superhero by night, the Burka Avenger fights corruption and oppression, and aims to empower the girls of Pakistan.
Unicorn Black Studios

Originally published on Wed July 31, 2013 6:05 pm

A caped crusader is on the loose in the mountains of Pakistan, but she's not your traditional superhero. The Burka Avenger wears a flowing black veil — only her brown eyes are visible — as she fights corrupt politicians and religious zealots. Her weapons of choice: pens and books.

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